GW was five years removed from the worst season in school history, a 1-27 debacle that tied the NCAA record for losses. Now, the Colonials were the No. 21 team in the nation, according to the coaches. They had beaten Temple for the first time in 21 tries. And for the first time in 32 years, and only the third time in school history, GW was headed to the NCAA Tournament, despite losing its opening game in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
Interestingly enough, one player, guard Rodney Patterson, was actually on both the 1988-’89 and 1992-`93 squads (he took a year off to wage a bout with cancer).
As surreal as it must have been for Patterson, it was no less amazing for the rest of Foggy Bottom to see their Colonials compete on a national stage.
So, when Coach Mike Jarvis and Sports Illustrated Freshman of the Year Yinka Dare not only made the Tournament, but as a lowly No. 12 seed, routed the University of New Mexico 82-68 in Tucson, Ariz., the Colonials were suddenly in fantasy land. Then, helped by another team’s upset, they only had to top No. 13 seed Southern University to reach the Sweet 16. They took care of business with a 90-80 win and now had exactly two more NCAA wins than they had notched in a century of basketball.
In Seattle, Wash., the Colonials led top seed University of Michigan in the second half but finally saw their run end in a 72-64 loss and their season finish with a 21-9 mark.
But the name George Washington was finally on the lips of college sports fans, where it still remains.